SEATTLE, Washington – Behind an 11th place finish from junior Angel Valdez, the CSU Bakersfield cross country team finished seventh of eight teams at the 2016 Western Athletic Conference Championships Saturday morning. Valdez’s performance shattered her 2015 finish (27th) and, as a result, marked the first time a Roadrunner finished better than 15th at the WAC Championships since joining the league.
The 11th-place finished earned Valdez a spot on the All-WAC team, a first for CSUB cross country.
With this year’s Championships being run at Jefferson Golf Park in Seattle, racing weather conditions were questionable. Despite the rainy racing weather conditions Saturday Valdez’s time of 18:40.40 places her even higher in the CSUB Division I Top 10 list in the 5k race. The graduate of East High School also managed to pace CSUB for the 10th consecutive race, a feat not accomplished by any other ‘Runner since the move to NCAA Division I in 2007.
“Angel earning All-WAC is another first for CSUB cross country” said Marcia-Mansur-Wentworth, Director of Cross Country for the Roadrunners. “We are making history one race at a time. Angel hung on with the lead pack and raced tough the whole way and I’m very proud.”
Freshman Paradise Pelzer finished second for the ‘Runners on Saturday. The Bakersfield native posted a time of 20:06.90. Irma Torres came in third for the ‘Runners with a time of 21:32.10. The freshman competed in her first WAC Championship on Saturday while placing 53rd overall.
Tori Blackmon finished fourth for CSUB with a time of 21:58.90. Redshirt freshman Ginny Medina concluded her first season after coming back from an injury. Medina finished the season with a time of 23:42.80 to round out the ‘Runner scoring five. As a team, CSUB finished seventh of eight teams with an average team time of 21:12.22.
Valdez is expected to participate in the NCAA Regional meet in November while the 'Runners will begin preparations for the track and field season. The CSUB women’s indoor track team will begin competing in January before the men’s team join them for the outdoor season later in 2017.